offers wealth of exciting attractions
By Elliott Brack
editor and publisher
MARCH 22, 2002 -- An early GwinnettForum column on a day trip
to Athens, Ga., got good reviews. There're so many good trips just
a short drive from Gwinnett.
Take Chattanooga, Tenn., for instance. A little over two hours
from here, it offers a tremendous variety of activities, in an uncrowded
(for Gwinnettians) atmosphere. It also can be kind on your pocketbook.
Chattanooga will surprise you. While you may not think of it as
a tourist destination, it's within a day's drive of half the population
in the United States. It draws 8 million visitors a year. And no
less a guide than Fodor's has dubbed Chattanooga as the top family
destination in the entire United States!
Just 20 years ago, Chattanooga was the "most polluted industrial
city" in the entire nation. No longer. Today properties signal
attractive re-development. Much of the revitalized tourist activity
is concentrated in the downtown core, making getting around easy.
Consider a trip to Chattanooga. You will find enough to want to
spend several nights. You'll find much lower prices than you would
in Metro Atlanta in the hotels, restaurants and attractions.
Let's list several possibilities for you to consider.
FOR CHILDREN: They will love Rock City and Ruby Falls, and
then go ga-ga at the Tennessee Aquarium. If you are up to teach
them, Civil War history dominates the area. Visit the Chickamauga
National Cemetery and other sites to learn about the Battles of
Chattanooga. By the way, Chickamauga Battlefield is the nation's
largest national monument, totaling more than 800 acres.
FOR A GAL GET-AWAY: Culture abounds in the many well-established
museums, plus a healthy art scene with its many galleries and monthly
exhibits. The Bluff View Art District, with its sculpture garden
at the river, will lure you, while quaint and affordable B&B's
await you. Don't forget the many antique shops all around town.
FOR GUYS: Later this season, enjoy minor league baseball
at a Chattanooga Lookouts baseball game in the new BellSouth park
downtown. Or visit the 40 acre Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum,
acclaimed as one of the best in the country. Rail buffs abound to
bring back memories!
THE OUTDOOR TYPE: The word in Chattanooga, "Live big,
play hard and work (if you must)." There's a new focus on outdoor
recreation. Within 15 minutes of downtown Chattanooga, you can be
hiking on all levels of trails, mountain climbing or biking, fishing,
birding, whitewater canoeing or kayaking, or even hang gliding.
For more, go to www.outdoorchattanooga.com.
CIVIL WAR BUFFS: At Chattanooga the Rebel lines were breached,
giving the Union an open path to march toward Atlanta, and eventually
the coast, changing the course of the war. The battles of Chickamauga,
Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge open before your eyes. At
Chickamauga alone, there are more than 600 statues raised by veterans
of this war. Chattanooga gave Ulysses Grant his initial victories
as Union Army commander.
BUSINESS CONFABS: Major new hotels downtown turn the area
into a conference center. Meet during the morning, then let an outdoor
activity or attraction bind your group together in the afternoon.
GETTING AROUND is easy, via free downtown electric shuttles,
running every five minutes, 6 am to 9 p.m. most nights.
It's all awaiting you in Chattanooga, where the re-charged atmosphere
is showing. For more, go to www.chattanoogafun.com.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE HOME: Take U.S. 27 on the return home,
stopping by Summerville to see the late folk artist Howard Finster's
domain, as well as Rome's famed Berry College. It's a leisurely
and attractive alternative to busy I-75.
3/22: Deadline approaching for leadership institute applicants
The Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute is now recruiting
for its 2002-2003 community Leadership Training Program, kicking
off in late August. Training is provided for Gwinnett citizens interested
in learning more about resources available in the community so that
they can take a more active role in community affairs.
Classes meet one Saturday a month for nine consecutive months.
Monthly topics include government, crime prevention, health, education,
economics, community growth and working with the media. The program
begins with an orientation and followed by a two-day kickoff retreat
at Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center in Norcross. Students
will select from various community projects as part of their training.
Deadline for applications is approaching. The 2002-2003 class begins
in July. Further information can be found at the website www.gnli.org.
-- Trish Joyner, Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
in equality struggle
"Somewhere in the struggle for equality, 'equal' got confused
with 'same,' but the evidence has mounted that 'different' has nothing
to do with 'equal,' as long as there is equality of access.'"
-- Pat Mitchell, president of PBS, 2000.
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